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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Case Of Medical Negligence?

A mother, Sangita, gave birth to a pre-term (three months) baby in Belle Vue Hospital, Kolkatta recently only to be told, by the three nurses who helped her with the delivery, that the baby was stillborn. This incident happened recently and is in the news for a case of medical negligence against the doctors because the baby (who was declared stillborn) was found to be alive and breathing about six hours later (according to news reports on TV).

'Dead' baby found alive after 10 hrs in Kolkata hospital

Dad finds baby alive 10 hrs after docs say it's dead

Apparently, the mother came to labor on the weekend, and the nurses told her that they were unable to contact the doctor. However, they proceeded with the labor and the head nurse warned her that the child may be born dead! The child did come out soon after, normally and the nurses declared the baby as stillborn as they did not detect any signs of breathing.

Much later, approximately six hours after this incident, the baby was found by the specialist to be alive and breathing. The mother was in shock after she was told that the baby was (first) born dead and then later that the baby was alive. The baby was then taken to the intensive care for observation. They are now trying to stabilize it.

Apparently this is not the first time that such an incident has happened. A similar incident was also reported in a BMC hospital in Mumbai, wherein the mother was initially told that the baby she gave birth to was stillborn, only to find the baby alive and breathing just minutes before it was going to be buried.

‘Miracle’ baby dies after triple tragedy of errors

Such incidences are shocking, and also brings to the fore the question of medical ethics, like the case recently where a dead man came to life hours after being pronounced dead by the doctors.

Dead Man "Waking" Up Causes Stir In Medical Ethics Committee

Is this truly a case of negligence? Or do we need to refine the criteria’s that define when and after how long can a body be declared dead?

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